Can offshore wind satisfy the worlds energy needs?

Can offshore wind satisfy the worlds energy needs?

With more than 70% of our planet covered by water, offshore wind energy has the potential to become a mainstay of the world’s power supply.

Fossil fuels are still prevalent at the moment

In 2018, global energy-related CO2 emissions reached a historical high of 33.1 Gt CO2
(a rise of 1.7% over 2017). Fossil fuels still accounted for nearly two thirds of global electricity generation (roughly the same share as twenty years ago)

The de-carbonisation of global economies and tackling air pollution are international goals. The need for clean and affordable low-carbon technologies to produce electricity instead of from fossil fuels is now more pressing than ever if not long overdue.

The huge potential of wind energy

Harvesting wind energy can have a major impact in a rapid clean energy transition. Around the world, wind-generation capacity installed both onshore and offshore has increased in the past two decades, increasing rapidly from 7.5GW in 1997 to 564GW by 2018.

Offshore wind

Offshore wind farms can be more efficient and have higher capacity factors than
onshore ones, due to higher and more consistent wind speeds.

In 2018, offshore wind had a total capacity of 23GW with approximately 80% of it installed in Europe. However this still accounts for only 0.3% of global electricity generation. 

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018.
In 2018, a total of 4.3GW of new offshore wind capacity was installed. By mid-2019,
there were over 5,500 offshore turbines connected to a grid in 17 countries.

The floating turbine solution.

Floating turbines could meet the world’s electricity demand more than 11 times over by 2040. At present we believe there are currently:

  • 55MW of prototypes installed,
  • 50 MW in construction and
  • 126 MW worth of contracts awarded.

These projects with three or more turbines can double the current capacity of floating offshore wind generation and are expected to increase capacity almost five-fold by 2023, but still only are a tiny faction of what is needed.

Update 21/10/2020

The Prime Minister stated this week that he  wanted the country to become the “world leader in low-cost clean power generation.” stressing the importance of renewable energy sources, especially offshore wind.

“We believe that in ten years’ time, offshore wind will be powering every home in the country, with our target rising from 30 gigawatts to 40 gigawatts.”

“As Saudi Arabia is to oil, the U.K. is to wind — a place of almost limitless resource but, in the case of wind, without the carbon emissions, without the damage to the environment.” 

Acknowledgments

  • Offshore Wind Outlook 2019 – IEA
  • The EU Blue economy report 2020 – European Commission
  • Future of wind – IRENA 

More information

Wave energy can be married to offshore wind solutions.

Get up to 100% funding for your green energy projects

Use our Advisory Board to learn more about onshore and offshore wind energy solutions.

Drax goes from coal to bioenergy

Drax goes from coal to bioenergy

The Drax power station in Yorkshire has announced that, after nearly 50 years, it will end all coal-fired power generation by March 2021.

This is well ahead of the UK Governments 2025 deadline for reaching “net-zero” on carbon emissions. With other power stations in Cheshire and Wales following suit, this indicates a significant moving away from carbon-based fuels.

Over the last ten years, four of the power station’s six generating units have been converted to use biomass, thus reducing carbon savings of more than 80% compared to when it was all coal-based

By using BECCS (BioEnergy with Carbon Capture and Storage) Drax has now been transformed into the UK’s largest renewable power generator and the biggest decarbonisation project in Europe, with the capacity to generate electricity for six million households. BECCS has been described as “The only negative emissions technology which enables the permanent removal of CO2 from the atmosphere whilst renewable electricity is generated.”

By taking the lead, Drax power station may now be seen as a shining example to the rest of the power generation industry wanting to reduce carbon emissions.


Acknowledgements

Header image © Copyright Alan Murray-Rust and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

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Green energy overtakes Fossil Fuels and Nuclear in Europe

Green energy overtakes Fossil Fuels and Nuclear in Europe

Environmental group Ember in London has reported that Renewable Energy has contributed a larger percentage to the European energy mix than fossil fuels or nuclear in the first half of 2020.

They state that in the first half of this year, approximately 40% of all the energy produced in the EU’s 27 countries came from renewable energy whereas fossil fuels accounted for 34%. The other 26% of energy production came from Nuclear and imports. Ember also reports that carbon dioxide emissions fell by 23%.

A continuing trend
This continues the trend of the last decade, as renewable energy generation gradually replaces fossil fuels based generation. In the first half of 2020:

  • renewables generated 40% of the EU-27’s electricity, whereas fossil fuels generated 34%. Most of this is as a result of coal being replaced by wind and solar.
  • Coal’s market share has halved since 2016 to just 12% of the EU-27’s electricity generation.
    Every country that had coal to start with saw a fall in coal generation.
  • Wind and solar has increased its market share from 13% in 2016 to 21% in the first half of 2020.
  • Hydro generated 13% of Europe’s electricity.
  • Bioenergy generated 6% of Europe’s electricity.

Acknowledgements

This article and the graph used are based on an original report by Dave Jones and Charles Moore at Ember under CC BY-SA 4.0

Header image produced in-house using original photography by Jörg Peter

A new technology wave energy generator

A new technology wave energy generator

We are delighted to be collaborating with Noviocean on their rapidly developing wave energy converter. We want to help Noviocean in their development of this exciting new technology in whatever way we can.

Noviocean’s mission statement reads “Saving the climate with profitable wave power”.

“We see wave generated energy as an essential part of the mix in our facilitation and funding of renewable energy generation projects around the world”.

Wave energy technology is not new – it has been experimented with for a few hundred years but without any remarkable success. Other wave energy converters are, of course, out there, but they can be too heavy, fragile, complex, and expensive to manufacture, and above all, they provide less electrical energy than they would like to.

Noviocean decided on a completely different approach with the conviction that to succeed, it must be lighter than others, to bring down the cost and to keep it so high in the water that it is not torn by the waves. Likewise, it should be simple, based on well-known technologies, have few parts, and have high efficiency, and not the least, be inexpensive in relation to its output.

Here is Noviocean’s director Jan Skjoldhammer’s story from airline captain to clean energy environmentalist.

After an economic success at a land deal, the plan was crystal clear for the environmentally engaged airline captain Jan Skjoldhammer. Instead of settling down, or continuing to fly, he decided to do something more meaningful with his time and capital. He would develop an innovative and revolutionary wave energy converter (WEC) with the potential to change the entire energy industry.

Given Jan’s background as a pilot, he has a burning passion as well as deep expertise in engines, technology, the sea, and large powerful machines. This, combined with both his willingness and ability to contribute to technical solutions, initiated the idea of a high-performing wave energy converter.

Wave energy technology, as such, is not new; it has been experimented with for a few hundred years but without any remarkable success. Other wave energy converters are, of course, out there, but usually, they are too heavy, fragile, complex, and expensive to manufacture, and above all, they provide far too little electrical energy.

“I decided on a completely different approach with the conviction that to succeed, it must be lighter than others, to bring down the cost and to keep it so high in the water that it is not torn by the waves. Likewise, it should be simple, based on well-known technologies, have few parts, and have high efficiency, and not the least, be inexpensive in relation to its output” says Jan Skjoldhammer.

With an awareness that solar and wind power will not suffice for the increased energy demand as well as the knowledge about the oceans’ potential, the foundation for the NoviOcean wave energy converter by Novige was established.

“I and the team are convinced that different technologies complement each other, which is a must if we are to solve the climate challenges and the problems surrounding energy access”, concludes Jan Skjoldhammer.

Learn more about Novige and Noviocean

  • Novige have a highly visual company page on LinkedIn with news, images and video.
  • They also have a highly informative website for more about the company, the team and the technology